Last June, the Supreme Court made a historic ruling in favor of school choice. In Carson v. Makin, the Court decided Maine’s exclusion of religious options from the state’s school choice program was unconstitutional. According to the Institute for Justice, these laws “prohibited…[towns] from paying tuition on behalf of families who chose otherwise qualified religious schools.”
Those opposed to school choice want to prevent taxpayer money from funding these “sectarian” schools, arguing the money should not support the religious endeavors of the school (i.e. building churches, buying bibles, etc.) But the irony is that these opponents simultaneously support using this same money to fund their own system’s morality. For example, some opponents of school choice such as the ACLU support taxpayer dollars going to funding abortion.
The reality is, school choice is an important issue of religious liberty for many religious people across America. For example, it is especially consequential for Christians who believe in the doctrine of infant baptism. If you don’t know what I am referencing, most Catholics are born into the church and baptized as babies, thus earning the nickname “Cradle Catholics.” This term, of course, still applies to any non-Catholic denomination where infant baptism is practiced. According to this belief, at birth “Cradle Catholics” are ignorant about Christ and the teachings of the Church. As they mature, it is expected they shed this ignorance and learn about the Gospel. Some will remain in their ignorance and never come to closeness with Christ, understand the sacraments, read scripture, or appreciate the true beauty of the Church. But of course, others will not.
This is why religious schools are important for many parents. Within Christian schools specifically, children learn about Christ and their faith. They find good role models in their teachers and religious leaders. However, kids raised in poor environments for their faith are prime targets for secularism, which would do nothing more than hinder the faith of children by forcing them to attend public schools. Many parents see anti-school choice policies as a legitimate danger to their child’s religious upbringing.
The recent Supreme Court decision in Makin is an important victory for religious freedom in the United States. Parents should have the right to educational support for their children that doesn’t discriminate against them simply because of their religion.
Let us hope and pray that religious freedom in America will continue to expand.